A number of the older players in the Liverpool squad have expiring contracts, and it's no surprise that news of the likely departures of Brad Jones and Kolo Touré broke around the same time. It seems that Liverpool will look for other options to supplement the central defence and goalkeeping positions, but there are starters in place who have performed well this season in Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho, and Martin Skrtel. Greater competition and competence would naturally be welcome as Liverpool look to improve for next season's campaign.
Kolo Touré's arrival from Manchester City in the summer of 2013 was agreed before the transfer window opened, and the Ivorian international was part of a raft of centre backs recruited to strengthen the position. While Touré was never considered an automatic starter, he has managed to make 44 competitive appearances that have been somewhat evenly split across his two seasons at the club. Injuries and poor form contributed to Yaya's big brother seeing more minutes than some predicted, but the former Arsenal defender has largely played well. He has made some shocking defensive errors and is clearly past his best physically, yet summed up his powers of friendly fortitude for some inspired performances. Who can forget his performance against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu?
The 34-year-old probably has a couple of seasons left in the game and could choose a few clubs where he'll play regularly. He's been one of the Premier League's recognisable defenders for over more than a decade for three top clubs and is part of an Ivorian Golden Generation that finally won the African Cup of Nations earlier in the year. The centre back told the Liverpool Echo of his desire to play more despite enjoying his time on Merseyside.
It's been a difficult season for all the team and everyone at the club as we haven't done as well as last season. For me, there's a decision to be taken. I am looking around and seeing what's best for my family. I'm talking with my wife to see what that decision will be. It's a difficult decision because since I've been here things have been good. I've really enjoyed it, even though it's difficult when you don't play a lot. I'm a competitor and I want to play more. Maybe when the season is over it will be easier to be relaxed and think about what's the project and what's the club's plan for you. Things can happen very quickly in football. In two or three days your future can be decided.
It's unfortunate that Kolo Touré won't win anything to mark his time at the club, but his positivity, professionalism, and enthusiasm has left a mark. It may be best for both player and club as the role offered by a contract extension doesn't look like it fits what Touré is looking for. If Touré leaves, it's certain that Liverpool fans will check in on the man with one of the best smiles in sport. His potential departure also offers the club a chance to promote or bring in a more physical option to compete with Liverpool's other centre backs.